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GOP governor candidates pledge business-friendly approach

By MELINDA DESLATTE Associated Press

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Republican candidates for governor say Louisiana needs a friendlier approach to business, suggesting Democratic incumbent John Bel Edwards’ spending and tax policies have stifled job creation.

U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham and businessman Eddie Rispone spoke Thursday at an event hosted by the Pelican Institute for Public Policy, a conservative think tank. For many attendees, it was their first viewing of the candidates.

Abraham says Louisiana’s tax climate is “toxic” to business and pledged to lower taxes if elected. Rispone touted his background as the founder of an industrial contracting company, saying he knows how to work with “job creators.”

Neither man gave specifics about what tax changes they’d seek.

Edwards has frequently sparred with business lobbying groups, but his campaign touts thousands of jobs announced over the governor’s tenure.